Doug Creamer: Thank you
Do you remember television’s Golden Girls? They were four women who, for various reasons, found themselves to be single. They lived together in sunny Florida and they were funny. They lived full and interesting lives. They pushed boundaries and challenged our thinking about growing old. We tuned in because we knew we were going to laugh.
How four single women could live in one house always astounded me. Each of the characters went through various difficult things. Sometimes they faced personal crisis and other times they struggled with their relationships to each other. But no matter what they were dealing with or going through, by the end of the thirty minute episode they were hugging, and found a way to maintain their friendships in spite of their differences.
The theme song to the show included the line, “Thank you for being a friend.” I imagine all of you who have ever seen the show can sing that little song right now…and you would do it with a smile on your face. That show had a way of making us laugh. Naturally, it was the highly talented writers, but those four women made it all believable. So we tuned in because we knew we were going to laugh and watch four women who maintained deep friendships.
A true friend is someone who is there for you through the good times and the bad times. My parents taught me how to be a good friend. If you want a friend, you have to be a friend. A true friend listens and keeps, as one advertisement says, “a judgement free zone.” A true friend comes to celebrate good news and sits with you and sustains you when you are faced with hardship and news you can’t endure alone.
We all expect pastors to be our friends. We expect them to be there at the birth of a child and to be there when a loved one departs. Somehow we hope they will have the right words as we struggle with grief and sorrow. We also have to remember that pastors walk through difficult times just like we do. They need us just like we need them.
Recently, I have found myself walking through a difficult personal challenge. I have been put into a place where I have had to lean on my family and several very good friends. Let me be clear about this, I am not comfortable leaning so heavily on others. I found the situation humbling.
You know what happened? My family and friends came and built spiritual walls around me. They stood for me and with me. They gave me the space and time to deal with things. They loved me and figuratively carried me when I needed them. They listened and understood. They carried on the silent battle of prayer for me.
I learned so much about myself, my family, and my friends recently. It is amazing how close I have felt to the Lord through this time. I know it is because of all the prayer, but His presence has been tangible and sweet. He has whispered things to me that I might have missed at another time in my life. He has helped me understand that it is OK to lay my sword down and rest. I am not very good at that because I like to fight for others. I am always looking for ways to encourage and build others up. I had to learn that scripture that says, “be still and know that I am God.” He has and will continue to see me through it.
I believe that God expects us to be valiant fighters and good friends. He wants us to do this for our Christian friends AND for those who are lost. Everyone needs someone to lean on at different times in our lives. Those that are lost need to see the hope in our eyes that will lead them to Christ. The saved need our love, support, and encouragement, when they find themselves fighting life’s battles.
I encourage you to be a good friend. We all need each other as we walk through life. My sword still feels a little heavy, but it feels good to be getting back on my feet. It’s not easy to let others fight for me, but it sure has made me thankful. I am thankful for the love, the support, the listening ears, the laughter, and the prayers. I think the Golden Girls song had it right; I want to thank you for being a friend.
Contact Doug Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org